Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Time....and time....again...

It's been close to 9 months!

That statement could be cause for great consternation for some. For others...excitement mixed with fear.  Much can happen in 9 months!!

Where do I begin?  Has life been so full and yet so ho-hum that nothing can be said?  I have come to the opinion that as one gets older, time really does take on a life of its own. Seconds don't seem to exist nor do minutes or hours for that matter.  Life is on this fast-paced, down-hill zip line that doesn't stop for anyone or anything. It's rolling right on through. Is is because of our regimented days? Or what about this thing called time. Is it that when we get older we get into a new continuum of time where we have a much different outlook on it than when we were young?  I don't know.  All I know is that before I can say "Happy Monday"...it's already Sunday....again. Very strange....very strange, indeed.

Am I the only person realizing this phenomenon?  Surely not. I got to thinking that it may be a sign of dementia where people no longer recognize time as an element of a person's past, present and future. They simply exist in a cocoon of sorts...no morning...no evening...no present or past. Just breathing in...breathing out....awaiting their time for departure. I don't think I'm there exactly because I can still rationalize to a degree....this is good.

Over these 9 months, I have been learning lessons about myself, my existence, my purpose, my hope, my 'raison d'etre", (is that how you spell that??? haven't taken French for over 50 years) of sorts. And we all know what that means. Learning lessons is tough stuff.  I don't particularly enjoy finding out that I can be an a**h***! But at least when one realizes their shortcomings one can begin to work on eliminating those shortcomings. Humbling...yes.  But certainly worth ones effort to change...over time.

Time can be a tricky little fiend.

So, how about you?  Are you feeling time slipping away by weeks and months..years, even?  If you are, perhaps you find yourself over sixty, a few grey hairs, complete with a full pill box!  Pills to help you pee, pills to invigorate your thyroid, pills to stop gout from raging in your big toe, pills to help with your crazy digestive tract, pills to ease your aching back, or shoulder, or knee or hip or any joint that should be moving. Ya. Not that I'm complaining....just aching.

Not only does time go by quickly now but it also does something else. It appears to be giving me clearer vision.  Oh, I don't mean that I don't need glasses (well, after my cataract surgery, I probably won't), but I can see life more clearly. I see things that once were vital to my existence, now have very little purpose at all. The "things" in this life have all but disappeared...and relationships remain. They are becoming more vital, much more deep and purposeful. I believe I am a most fortunate person because I am able to say this. Not that life has become an easy, float-along-with-me kind of existence but one of sincerity and trust and understanding and care, where I see people with different eyes...less judgemental, kinder somehow. I give that credit to God alone. I don't seem to be able to change into a better person without His divine help!

These are some dear, God-seeking women whose friendships have become vital in my life.

Although I have not been writng prolifically on this media forum, I do find myself writing. Seems like yesterday that I wrote on here...but 9 months have passed me by. May this evening find you pleasantly content, in good health and a smile on your face...after all, we may just find that tomorrow will end up being January 1, 2017. Life is funny like that. Sleep well...but not too long....

May spiritual blessings fall on you and keep you at peace this night.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

For those living life below Zero C....

These are the days of looooooooong shadows. Sun rises at 9:09 AM and sets at 5:17 PM.  Winter.  January.  Saskatchewan.

Now just that tiny little paragraph would scare off the most seasoned adventurous type folks, don't you think?  But it makes me think of us here in this barren, frosted-over, freeze-your-buns-off place we call home. I watch the Weather Network...a LOT...and daily compare ourselves here in Prince Albert to our more southern, tropic-like city of Saskatoon...or Regina....or North Battleford...or Yorkton....or Moose Jaw.....and good ole' P.A. usually has the second coldest 'normals for this day', next to La Ronge...in ALL of Saskatchewan.  So when I say, we are seasoned winter folk, we have the stats to prove it!  I'm sure other folks keep track like I do.  In fact, I know they do.  We begin comparing temperatures...you know, like comparing hair styles, clothes, figures, houses, teeth, children, spouses, dogs....we compare our temps to those of other places.  I think comparing stuff like temps is pretty fun but when we begin to compare other things, it can get way out of hand. We aren't supposed to do it.....

I'm sure it's because we want to make more of ourselves. If we compare ourself to Josephine Blow, surely she will not in any way measure up to US, right?  We get ourselves in there and make like we are really better...in every possible way.  But I suppose we could go the other route and say that when we compare ourselves to others, we make like we are much less than what we really are.  So, either way, we're hooped!  No comparisions.  Best way to live!

In January though, I find myself comparing other things that don't involve people. I like to compare some of the photos I've taken in the summer and compare them to ones that have been clicked in the throws of winter. The feeling you get when viewing and comparing them is interesting. Seeing a photo of that summer sun beating down makes you almost warm inside...a good thing when it's -35C!!

January usually finds us indoors more of the time.  We nestle down with some hot chocolate and a book....all cozy with our blanket....and read. It's what I do, at least.  A perfect time for that sedentary hobby!  A perfect time for thinking.  A perfect time for comparing.....yes, comparing!  Have we been measuring up to our potential? How do we measure up to the way we were this time last year? If we are Christians, we have a lot of comparing to do, I think. Have we improved in a particular discipline since we began that discipline a year ago? Not comparing ourselves to others but to how we have progressed along the way. Are we more loving and caring than we were yesterday.  Comparing CAN be a good exercise when it makes us accountable to ourselves. What about that discipline of prayer? Can we say we are into a good rhythm of daily prayer compared to say....five years ago?  As we compare, we are hopefully, moving ourselves forward like the seasons of the earth.

People though, have seasons, too!  We may find ourselve in a difficult time, a winter of our life. We feel cold. Unable to move in any direction. We kind of just hibernate....until the warmth of the Son comes and He thaws out our cold, ridgid hearts.  And the season of our life turns to spring where the seed is planted again, and we prepare ourselves for a season of growth. We learn lessons. We begin to again feel the heart working to prepare us for a season of harvest, one in which others can benefit from our own growth. And on and on it goes.


It's when our lives are below Zero....cold, stiff, immovable, and we believe we are ready to die from it all.....that is the time....when we are at our coldest and hardest and lowest into the darkness of our souls..... and our last breath is near, do we look and see in this state of hibernation that the only way to life...is UP...UP out of the ground,...UP to take a new breath.....UP into freshness and warmth that only the Son can bring.

I pray that if you find yourself these days in that cold state of nothingness...that before that last breath is taken, that you take one more look UP. See the possibilities. See the goodness. See life.

Remember....it's simply a season...and seasons do change!  May you find peace in realizing that truth.

Monday, June 15, 2015

My PC flew the coop....

It happened all of a sudden....C R A S H.....

Nope.  Not a car.  Not a biking accident. Didn't fall over the balcony or out of bed!

My computer decided that this was the day to end it's life.  It had been a good PC.  Personally fashioned by the hands of a friend. Mr. PC simply said that it had had enough of trying and struggling to compute and headed for computer heaven...without me, thank heaven!

It was a fairly silent farewell.  Actually, it didn't even whimper. It just decided to not start up....ever again. I attempted to press that "on" switch many times....for many days...thinking it may be just a bit temperamental and all that...somewhat like me!  It was not to be.  I heard not another purr, click or wheeze...and I suspect ever will again.

Now I'm one who believes that things get second chances....even computers!  So perhaps we will send this beast back to it's creator to see if he can revive the dead...or at least retrieve my pictures.

So...no computer...no printer....just this handy-dandy laptop.

I love the world of electronics...when they work and live to await your every command.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

On being Fleeced.....

It was a good day.  It started with a lovely A&W coffee time with my man.  As it was Thursday, we followed up the coffee time with, what I call the weekly "Seek and Find Adventure". I figured that I'd call it something other than what it actually was in order to fully get into the event and enjoy the day.

OK.....so it was grocery shopping....there...I said it.  Yes, we went GROCERY SHOPPING! (using the upper case makes it sound like I'm yelling, right?...right!) So grocery shopping with husband can sometimes be an actual fun and adventurous time and we have, some weeks at least, come away from our adventure unscathed.

This week was no different...well, other than a few direct harsh words expressed to my man when he wouldn't listen to my point of view on a very important matter...how many bagels were left in the freezer and should we buy another package this week or leave it until next week. It was important to me, at least.  So I huffed and puffed and spitted out the words "I shall buy them TODAY!!" (you really had to be there to appreciate the full effect of my childishness and pompousness, not to mention his self-righteousness and anoying snicker..heeheehee). The bagels were stuffed into the cart.

Our crazy attitudes diminished together as our cart pushed past the meat section. Steak used to be a favorite of ours.  But looking at the prices, we realized what we had been hearing about seniors not being able to afford to eat was seemingly true!   Well, eating steak, at least.  Two nice little steaks.....$30.  One can buy a lot of bagels for thirty bucks!  We looked longingly at those morsels...then at each other....and walked on by....just like the song. That was one store.

On to the next store.  Checking out the flyers. Comparing prices.  I totally think it's a waste of time.  Let's take into account the gas we use from our honkin' big truck, tootling about from one place to the next...then wear and tear on said truck, not to mention our precious time!  Well, perhaps not the time, as retired folks' time doesn't really appear to matter too much.  You know...it's all we have, right?  Anyway, take the time away and it boils down to a waste of gas...and pollution of the air from said gas. Right??!!.  That was my defense.

On to the next store.  We won't mention this one.  All we did was buy water.

Home!  Sweet home!  Carry those bags.  One flight of stairs. Into the apartment and plop those bags on the floor..ready to put away.  Did I mention I also hate putting groceries away?  Ya...I hate putting groceries away...but I get right to it anyway.  Husband seems to have some really important phone calls to make at that particular time...but I shall put the %&)(^)(*&_)(#*%^)#%^%*groceries away. (I love making all those symbols...no one can actually see my meaning...they could be curse words but I won't say!)

I'm getting right into it. Throwing the food into the fridge...slam. Dropping cans into cupboard...bang. Husband doesn't even seem to notice anything unusual....until he heard the words..."Oh sh**!!!!" See, I can't even type the word....but it squeeked out of my mouth at any rate.  Not sure if I felt worse for saying it, or the fact that while holding paper towels under my right arm plus a recycling paper bin and the very large, heavy bottle of Fleecy in my left hand by the top...not the handle....I felt the Fleecy bang on the floor and I was left holding it's top.  Looking down I was staring at the Fleecy bottle glug...glug...glugging it's softening scent in ripples over the storage room floor....all blue and thick and heading under the freezer and the floor boards.  I scooped up the bottle, handing it to husband, who, upon hearing the agonozing shouts from his usually tranquil wife, had appeared out of nowhere.  He grabbed a very thin spatula and a bowl...handing it to me....and I began the ordeal of keeping this putrid mass of blue goo contained into one single pond.  Have YOU ever tried scooping Fleecy with a spatula into a bowl?  NO???  Probably not.  I kept scooping and plopping, scooping and plopping until the sea of blue was mostly off the floor and into the plastic bowl.  Husband got the seive and poured it back into Mr. Fleecy's big blue bottle.  So my slippers were consumed with the stuff, it had splashed all over the bottom half of the freezer, over the two water jugs, several plastic containers, assorted bags, the door, the wall and I suppose I will continue to find splotches and drips of this goop from now until....well, until we get Fleeced again.

The house was instantly refreshed and my hands, especially.  Ever tried to get that smell OFF your hands and clothes?  Me neither...until today.  I felt like I needed to be thrown into the washer and put on the spin cycle without Fleecy for an hour or so.  Anyway, I suppose the grocery buying wasn't so bad after all...and hey, even though we were Fleeced, husband and I did a pretty fine job of bonding through the ordeal. We're still speaking!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Thinking....of freedom.....

There are circumstances in life that gets one thinking of the many freedoms I take for granted. I can go about doing them whenever I choose. Here is a list of a few...
walking safely from one room to another
having what I want to eat
listening to whatever type of music I want, when I want
heading off to church in my vehicle
having a shower
touching the one I love
hugging a friend
phoning or texting anyone I wish
giving and receiving of gifts
walking in the forest
biking down a trail
watching the sun rise and set
hearing happy news
expressing my opinion without fear
holding hands
laughing with people I love and care about
looking my family in the eye
touching a cheek
hearing robins and crows
wrapping Christmas gifts
decorating a tree and topping it with the angel
putting up lights everywhere
going out to a movie
having peace of mind
planning a trip
wearing new clothes
fellowship with friends over coffee
sipping a glass of good wine
writing a letter without it being inspected
to look to my left and my right...without fear
sleeping in a tent
engaging in good conversation
cooking a hot dog over an open fire
walking by the river
being with a dying loved one
flying to another country
buying a couch
having a passport
fishing in a beautiful lake
using my gifts of creativity...such as they are
walking out the front door
using a key
dressing up and going to a party
visiting someone in hospital

Next time I do any one of the above, I will thank God for my freedom to engage these gifts and pray for the Spirit to comfort those who cannot have any of them.

My heart and the heart of my family is broken....

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Here....or there....

We were close, my older brother, Garry, and I.  Not so much in proximity, (although an hour and a half away is really quite close) but close in heart.  Does that make sense?  Close in our 'heart ways'.  Close in our senses of humour. Close in our 'people ways'.

But....I was here...and he was there....

Does it really make that much difference when siblings live a ways away from one another?  It doesn't seem to make any difference at all when it comes to how we feel about each other...even if I am here....and he is there....

We grew up together.  Ate together.  Played together.  Laughed together. Cried together (when mother settled disputes!!!). Went to church together. He went his way and I went mine after eighteen years of being in the same house.  But love doesn't leave or separate. Still, I was here...and he moved there.....

Years came and went. We'd phone though at Christmas or special days like birthdays and St. Patrick's Day and days to tell one another that this one or that one had passed away....or election days!  But with a family in tow, it wasn't easy to jump into the car and go for a visit...for either of us.  Especially when I was here...and he was there....

Our family members...one by one....died.  We comforted each other as best we could with tears and words and hugs.  Even when he had been very ill, he managed to come and be with me as we grieved together the loss of a younger brother, a father, a mother...we were family...and he and I were what was left. I was here....and although he was there....he selflessly came here.....

And so, as I grieve with tears at his memory and my loss, I look back on our lives together...yet apart.  The way it is supposed to be.

Still, even though he was in the hospital in his last days, saying he didn't want visitors, I am needing to come to terms with not going to see him. I knew him well enough to say he had a subborn streak a mile long, not unlike my own:)  so I was appreciating his wishes...and not going to him.  He would be out in a few short days, I was told.  It made me anxious with his blood pressure so low...that I was here.....and he was there.....

Now, the end of his life has come.  New life is happening in that sacred place for him...a place where I cannot yet be....yet, for now....I am here....and he is there....rejoicing!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It has found me....

Yes, as hard as I try, I just cannot avoid it.

I've attempted to hide.  It found me.

I ignored it. It grabbed me.

It hit me over the head...and crushed me! It seared my soul to it's depths.

And yet, here I am....still.

The sting of death has not overtaken me and I live on.

My older brother, Garry, died last night. The sting of that hit me hard and fast like a lightening bolt. He wasn't content with how his body had been treating him for the past 29 years.  There were things he overcame...major physical barriers...but he kept on...fighting like the fiesty Irishman he was until there was no more left in him to fight with.  He finally let go....

He was a fellow who spoke his mind...always...except if he thought it may hurt you too badly.

He laughed a lot and enjoyed the humour in everything.

He teased...how well I remember as a young girl being teased by him...and NOT liking it!

He was a heart man...in every way! He cared deeply for his family and loved them all unconditionally.

He was a sportsman.  From golf to goose hunting....and everything in between.

I liked him as a person and admired him for his ability to get things done.

He worked hard and was a store manager who not only managed...he worked WITH his staff...rolling up his sleeves and digging in. I admired that about him, too.

He was a wild and crazy kid as he grew up.  Flying around on his bike...then racing around in his car. He loved life and living it.

So, in speaking of living ones life, his was a great example of living ones life well.  Through much adversity, he lived life fully and with a great amount of joy.

The sting of death has crept into our lives for a time.  I know it will leave...eventually. In the meantime, I shall endure it's pain because when you love, you are called to endure as well. Love is like that...offering up it's sweetness and goodness in another...and then it is gone.  But not without leaving a part of it behind...in us.

I said to Ken tonight as we sat and chatted about Garry at the supper table, that I have no fear in death...I do, however, have a certain fear of dying.  The passive and the active.  Death will be freeing. Death will usher me into a new place, a good place where I have never been before.  But the dying is the active part...where the suffering, the sickness, the fear comes in. It would be great to skip that part!  But that isn't what life offers.

When we have a belief in something beyond life, it gives us a great deal of hope...hope of something better, a place where love is, a place to be away from suffering and the sting that being left behind brings. A place where God is present.  I don't really know what that will look like but I like to think it will be grand...just grand.

So, here's to you, dear brother Garry, and a life well lived. Thanks for being a part of it with me. you were loved...deeply...and sincerely....

We all were a part of his life....and always will be.  Love to you, dear brother....